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Stamford Bridge is a major obstacle for Chelsea sale - Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson explains why Stamford Bridge significantly lowers the appeal of Chelsea Football Club.

Journalist Jonathan Wilson joined The Football Show on Wednesday to discuss Roman Abramovich and Chelsea.

Chelsea will have new owners soon.

Roman Abramovich confirmed that the club is for sale in a statement on the club's website.

While Abramovich says that he is selling the club and using the money to set up a charity, he is also reportedly asking for a huge price. Suggestions are that the asking price is greater than £2 billion and might be closer to £3 billion. It's a huge sum which means there is a small market of buyers.

Furthermore, those buying the club will have to be comfortable giving such a huge sum to a Russian oligarch in the current climate.

Buyers reportedly must have their offers in by Friday. Abramovich appears to be in a rush to sell the club so that it is not seized from him by the British government. Abramovich was named in British parliament this week and has now been addressed by the European Parliament president Roberta Metsola.

Chelsea is a huge club now. Abramovich's money turned it into that. The reigning European Champions and multiple Premier League winners with one of the best managers in the world. And one of the best squads in the world. There is a lot to like at Chelsea so it should be an appealing club, but there are also deterrents.

Jonathan Wilson explained on The Football Show.

"There's other reasons to be slightly cautious about the value of Chelsea," Wilson said.

"Kevin Maguire, the Football Finance expert, he valued the club in 2020 at £1.2 billion. So not £2 billion, not £3 billion but £1.2 billion. That's a lot lower than the figures being talked about today. I don't know if that's £1.2 billion assuming you take on the debt. It would then be £2.7 billion.

"You've also got the issue that Stamford Bridge is small for a club of Chelsea's stature.

"And there's not a huge amount you can do about that. That's been one of the recurring frustrations I think for Chelsea in the Abramovich period. They haven't been able to redevelop the stadium, they don't even own the freehold on the pitch, which is a legacy of Ken Bates' time.

"They did have grand plans that they ended up shelving...The problem with Stamford Bridge is it's hemmed in on both sides, a cemetery on one side and on the other side by a railway line. They had worked out a plan where you could build over the railway line at enormous cost. But it was still cheaper than trying to find another site relatively central in London."

If the new owners want to leave Stamford Bridge altogether and relocate to a less appealing location to build a bigger stadium, they won't realistically be able to. Abramovich is rich enough to do anything he wants. But the cost of building a new stadium for the next Chelsea owner is a major deterrent.

That is because they can't sell Stamford Bridge if they move out of it.

"You can't sell Stamford Bridge because the freeholders have insisted that football must be played on that pitch. It can't be turned into apartments. So if you're buying it purely for financial reasons, that's a reason why Chelsea can't be developed as an asset the way Man City have been. Or the way the Saudis hope Newcastle will be."

Chelsea are a Champions League team, a title contender in a good year and a football club without any glaring needs. But Stamford Bridge is an anchor that will play a major role in any sale of the club moving forward.

Chelsea are officially for sale.


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Chelsea Chelsea Sale Roman Abramovich Stamford Bridge